DICKINSON, N.D. – The Waldorf University softball team dropped losses to Bellevue University and Mayville State University during the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Tournament to close out the season on Friday.
Bellevue (47-12), ranked No. 23 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, topped the Warriors (15-29) with a 7-1 win during the opening round of the conference tournament. During an elimination game, Mayville State (21-25) captured a 10-1 victory over Waldorf in five innings.
Kennedy Vinchattle led the Warriors against the Bruins, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a double. The junior from Boone matched the single-season school record with 18 homers. Waldorf also received singles from juniors Hattie Hupke, Kaylie Brindley and sophomore Madison Mason. The Warriors finished with five hits.
Bellevue's Hannah Carter went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double and an RBI single. Emily Miller delivered a run-scoring double and Sayde Woten also provided a double. The Bruins compiled eight hits.
Kelli Fisher (28-4) notched the win. She struck out eight batters, issued two walks and gave up one run on five hits in seven innings.
Brindley (9-14) took the loss. She fanned six batters, allowed five walks and relinquished six runs (four earned) on seven hits in five and one-third innings. Junior McKenna Marcinkowski walked two batters and yielded one run on one hit in two-thirds of an inning.
Miller put the Bruins on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning after scoring off a throwing error. Maddie Siedlik reached on a dropped fly ball, allowing Carter and Kaitlyn Kinman to score on the play.
Vinchattle smashed a solo homer in the sixth, cutting Bellevue's lead to 3-1.
Bellevue added four runs in the sixth. Miller doubled in a run, Carter slapped an RBI single and Siedlik cracked a two-run single.
Mason finished 2-for-3 against Mayville State. Senior Trista Bures provided an RBI single. Hupke and Vinchattle added singles to round out Waldorf's five hits. Vinchattle tied Waldorf's single-season school record with 132 total bases.
Nina Gurgian drove in four runs for the Comets, going 1-for-2 with a three-run shot. Danielle Sheridan went 2-for-2 with a two-run double. Kiana Ishikawa finished 2-for-2 with an RBI single. Mayville State totaled nine hits.
Haley Kravetz (9-8) earned the win. She recorded two strikeouts, walked two batters and allowed one run on five hits in five innings.
Junior Briley Sullivan (5-10) was hit with the loss. She gave up two walks and surrendered four runs (three earned) on four hits in two innings. Marcinkowski allowed one walk and scattered six runs (four earned) on four hits in one and one-third innings. Brindley tossed two-thirds of an inning, struck out a batter and yielded one hit.
Bures singled in a run for the Warriors in the top of the first.
Gurgian blasted a three-run homer in Mayville State's half of the first to give the Comets a 3-1 lead.
During the third, Ishikawa contributed a run after Lauren Coronado reached base as the result of a throwing error.
Mayville State plated six runs in the fourth. Ishikawa connected for an RBI single. Coronado drove in a run after reaching on a fielding error. Sheridan drove in two more runs after ripping a double. Gurgian brought in Coronado on a sacrifice fly and Megan Rabe singled in a run.
"The seniors have a lot of talent," Waldorf coach Lexy Determan said. "The program will miss their presence on the field and their leadership. They were welcoming to the younger players, which will help the program in the future as well."
Sanchez posted a .317 batting average this season. The Mason City native turned in a .320 batting average with 46 runs and 21 RBIs during her two-year career at Waldorf. Sanchez was also named to the NSAA's Gold Glove Team in 2016 after recording a .989 fielding percentage.
Bures compiled a .280 batting average on the season. In her two years at Waldorf, Bures provided 54 RBIs, 42 runs, 21 doubles and a .290 batting average.
Sullivan recorded a .511 slugging percentage and a .255 batting average this season. The Laurens native put together a 10-16 record in three years at Waldorf and finished the 2016 season with a 4-4 record.
Kofron provided major contributions at the hot corner, starting 44 games for the Warriors this season.
Lovato made an impact in Waldorf's lineup, starting 20 games this season as a designated player.
Dennis closed out the 2016 season with a .296 batting average, starting 46 games for the Warriors.
"They are a good group of girls and they have gained some valuable skills that I hope will help them in their future," Determan said. "I know they will all move on to be influential in their careers as well."
Waldorf expects to return 14 players next season. The Warriors aim to make a quick start during the fall to prepare for the 2018 season.
"Next year, we will have to start off the fall with a bang to establish what Waldorf softball will be like," Determan said. "We have a good core returning and I am really excited to add our new recruits to that group. We will keep focusing on why we play and building a program together."
The first two seasons in the NSAA have proven to be competitive and the Warriors look for next year to be no different.
"This is only the beginning and this conference is going to continue to be a tight race," Determan said. "It will be fun to up our presence in the conference and continue to establish Waldorf as a contender."